10 Reasons to Make Your Social Media Content More Engaging

10 Reasons to Make Your Social Media Content More Engaging
10 Reasons to Make Your Social Media Content More Engaging

Consistently producing social media content isn’t enough - it needs to be engaging, too. Here are ten reasons why.

Have you ever wondered why some brands have content that goes viral? Sure, a handful of them may appear to be random strokes of luck - and yes, that does happen.

However, you might be surprised to know that more often than not, these bits of content - videos, images, status updates, and the like - are actually carefully crafted by the brands themselves.

No, I don’t mean that they were created for the sole purpose of going viral. There’s no surefire “secret recipe” for virality, after all, and not all share-worthy content goes viral. What I mean is this: If you were to take a closer look at the types of content that go viral, you’ll see that they have one thing in common: They’re engaging.

Engaging social media content can be educational, witty, fun, or just plain well-done. The key ingredient here is knowing exactly what it requires to create engaging social media content.

Before we get to the how, though, it pays to know the why.

As a business owner saddled with so many tasks throughout the day, you have to consider the ROI of everything you do. Creating engaging content for your social media accounts is no different. Is there really a point to putting more effort into your content creation, or can you just wing it through consistency or frequent updating?

Here’s the truth: As effective a tool as social media is when it comes to reaching out to your target audience and boosting the online presence of your brand, not taking full advantage of it is almost as bad as not using it at all.

Simply put, being on social media isn’t enough - you need to be putting out high-quality and engaging content, too.

Still not convinced? Here are ten reasons why taking the time to create engaging content for your social media accounts is worth the effort.

1. It makes your customers want to take action.

The primary function of engaging content is to capture your audience’s attention. Get them hooked with compelling content - a video tutorial, an engrossing blog post, or an infographic that they can share with their friends - and make them interested enough to want to take the next step.

Be sure that your content has a clear call to action, so that you can entice your customers to act in the way you’d like them to. Do you want them to schedule a consultation with you? Would you like them to avail your products at your next discount sale, or share their email address with you so that you can add them to your mailing list? The possibilities are right there, limited only by how engaging your content is.

2. It makes your brand unique and memorable.

Creating engaging content will give your audience a reason to remember your brand. To gain recognition and credibility among your industry competitors, you need something that can make you stand out. Infuse your content with a bit of creativity, such as a distinct style of making videos, or a steady stream of humorous listicles. Remember: The quality of your content is what your brand will be known for.

3. It lets you offer something new and exciting.

Make your audience appreciate you more by giving them something they haven’t seen before. Let your creativity run wild, and come up with new and thrilling ways to captivate your audience through your content. With engaging content that disrupts  the norm and makes your audience rethink what they know about your industry, you’ll definitely stand out.

4. It’s an easy way to start a conversation with your target audience.

For many brands, the challenge isn’t attracting customers - it’s keeping them interested. With well-written and well-executed content, you can rest assured that your audience will keep coming back for your updates. With content that’s just the right balance of conversational and formal, your audience will feel that you truly understand them - and, in turn, they’re bound to understand you.

5. It helps you connect with your customers on a deeper level.

Engaging content draws in your audience and keeps them glued to your updates. It also establishes a stronger relationship between you and your customers - on that runs deeper than, say, a simple buy and sell transaction. Engaging content provides your customers with more than just entertainment or information. It creates a bond of sorts, building loyalty to your brand in the process.

Social Media Content Course

How to Create Engaging Social Media Content

Grab our course on how to create highly engaging social media posts to attract more followers and fans to your brand on Skillshare.

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6. It helps you tell a better story.

Your brand story is definitely worth telling, but if you don’t find a good way to tell it, then your customers wouldn’t realize that. For your audience to get what really makes you tick - and why you’re better than all the other brands out there vying for their attention - they need to know your story. More importantly, they need to know why your story matters. Communicate your story in the best way you can, through engaging content.

7. It adds value to your customers’ lives.

From informative how-to videos to witty articles on relevant topics, your customers will definitely enjoy reading engaging content from you - and their lives will be much better for it. Putting effort into crafting engaging content prevents your offers from becoming merely additional fluff in an already polluted marketing environment.

8. It solves your customers’ problems.

Creating compelling content for social media requires a good grasp of what your target market needs, as well as a clear idea of how you can address said need. If you can provide them with answers to their most pressing concerns or give well-defined solutions to their problems, your audience will definitely be more receptive to your messaging.

9. It doesn’t feel like marketing.

Remember the last time someone handed you a flyer as you were walking down the street, or tried to get you to sign up for a credit card as you passed by their kiosk at the mall? How did you feel about it? Always keep this in mind: The best kind of marketing is the kind that doesn’t feel like marketing. Compelling content causes your customers to engage with you, instead of the other way around. Let them see your value - don’t shove it in their faces.

10. It allows you to make the most out of today’s marketing and communication tools.

Truth be told, marketers and business owners have a wide variety of tools they can choose from in order to create engaging social media content. It would be a shame to settle for less-than-satisfactory results, especially since everything you need is already at your disposal. Explore different types of content that you don’t normally offer, and craft some with your unique knowledge and approach to branding.

Want to get started on creating engaging content for your followers, but don’t know where to start? Check out my collaboration with Skillshare, How to Create Engaging Social Media Content. Learn what you need to know about creating content that attracts and connects with your audience, as well as how you can stand out in an already crowded sea of brands on social media.

A Startup’s Best Tool for Branding

A-Startup-Best-Tool-for-Branding

It’s never too early to start thinking about what social media can do for your startup business’s branding. Make the most of it with these tips.

The world of business can be quite intimidating, especially for first-timers. It’s no big surprise that it’s challenging for those who are just starting out to become really successful right out of the gate.

After all, they’re competing against tons of other entrepreneurs who just happened to get there first.

Naturally, these businesses need to set themselves apart from the competition. That’s why we have what we call personal branding — it’s essentially what makes you, well, you. It’s creating an image of yourself that you want others to see and think about when they look at you or hear your name. Take care of your personal brand, and people will be much more likely to trust you, or at the very least listen to what you have to say.

There are many effective — albeit costly — ways for a startup brand to make itself known to its audience. Marketing and advertising play a vital role in getting the word out about a new business; however, a business at the startup stage understandably won’t have enough funds to compete with their industry’s old-timers.

Fortunately, social media has leveled the playing field when it comes to marketing. Nowadays, whether you’re a small-scale startup or a large-scale enterprise, all you really need to have are a basic knowledge of what makes social media and the internet tick, a willingness to try a new method of marketing, and the patience to wait for long-term (and definitely significant) gains.

With a decent social media presence, you can build a pool of leads and partners, become well-known for your specific niche, and be known as a trusted figure in the community.

I’ve compiled some best practices for using social media to create a positive brand image for yourself, even during your startup phase:

1. Take the plunge — but only if your target market already has.

Let’s face it: with all of the social media platforms out there, it’s hard to be everywhere at the same time. Spreading yourself too thinly won’t do your brand any good in the long run; it’s better to concentrate and focus your time and efforts on a handful of social media platforms  where you are absolutely certain that you’ll find your target audience.

Find out what they’re into — their interests, their hobbies, their behaviors and their preferences — and get into that, too. If you happen to chance upon a soon-to-be-trend that hasn’t become a trend yet, go ahead and embrace it. With any luck, you might be the first brand to have recognized it, which means you will certainly attract attention from the crowd that’s right for your brand. This is something you can use to build your community of fans.

You’ve probably already heard the saying “jack of all trades, master of none.” Well, that’s true — while you might be able to impress a handful of people by showing them that you can do everything, your branding will suffer in the long run, for the simple reason that you’ll end up having nary a single specific thing that your potential consumers will know you for.

Develop a reputation as an expert in three fields at most, and concentrate on one “main” discipline which you will focus all your attention on growing and developing. It certainly helps to have something you’re well-known for if you want to stand out. Don’t choose to be a generalist — think about what it is you really want to do, what you would willingly do even if you didn’t get paid, and by that time, you would have already found where you truly belong.

Part of the point of branding is in recognizability, and what better way is there to be recognizable to your fans than to establish a signature design for all of your social media pages, original content, and publicity materials?

On Instragram, for example, you can use a specific, consistent filter for all your pictures; on Twitter, you can come up with a hashtag that only you or your company will use.Hire someone to design a professional-looking logo for you, and work on making sure that your creative output, no matter how eye-catching, still remains aligned with your company’s intended guidelines.

Now that the world is aware of your existence, it’s time for you to mingle! Be active on social media — answer questions, commend fellow users for a job well done, sit back and tell them about your day, and other social media management things.Use a scheduling tool for your social media posts to make your lives a lot easier. If you’re still not sure about how often you should post updates in a day depending on social media platform, these figures should be helpful.

  • Post on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook 5 times per day.
  • Post on Google+ 2 times per day.
  • Post on LinkedIn and Instagram once a day.

Make sure that the content you create and share is worth following and anticipating, as far as your target audience is concerned. Stick to content that’s useful and at the same time has the potential to go viral and therefore let the rest of the world know that you exist.

Visual content is great too, as it has been proven that online articles with images are nearly a hundred percent more likely to be viewed than an all-text update. If it helps, think of social media for your brand as a nice pizza and your content as the toppings.

Social media platforms are arguably your greatest assets in establishing your brand and imprinting it in the consciousness of a lot of potential buyers. No matter which social media platform you’re on, it’s still a handy tool for your marketing strategy.

These Social Media Campaign Ideas Will Make Your Holidays Happy

These-Social-Media-Campaign-Ideas-Will-Make-Your-Holidays-Happy

‘Tis the season to be on social media! Here are some great ideas for a powerful holiday social media marketing campaign.

Got anything planned for the holidays? I’m not talking about your holiday plans per se (though a vacation would be nice, or even just getting to spend the holidays with family and friends).

I’m talking about your marketing plan — your social media campaign, to be more precise.

Think about it: It’s the season for shopping, and everyone will be online looking for ideas. Thus, there’s a bigger chance for more engagement, more leads, and hopefully more sales during the holidays, and most of the people who look for gift suggestions online would no doubt turn to social media for help.

Research shows that social media plays a significant role in shaping the opinions, preferences and shopping behaviour of consumers during the holidays. Like I said, consumers go online to get data on what they are planning to buy for their loved ones and themselves. The internet is a one-stop shop for this sort of thing, as you no doubt already know. Whether you’re out looking for product photographs, descriptions, reviews, tutorials, recommendations, or even discounts, you’ll certainly find what you’re looking for online.

That’s why your brand should seize the opportunity as it comes… and the key to that is executing a strong holiday campaign.

Of course, sometimes, the hardest part turns out to be thinking of what you want to do (and how you plan to go about doing it) in the first place. After all, you aren’t really expected to spend all year thinking of the perfect holiday campaign concept (though it does help to have things planned out in advance)

Feeling stuck and out of ideas? Don’t worry - here are 10 great basic concepts for a social media marketing campaign that you can start with. All you need to do is to iron out the specifics, figure out how you can make it uniquely yours, and execute it well.

It’s time to get rid of your old default profile and banner photos and change them into something a bit more appropriate for the season. You can use an image quote or a special holiday recipe as your cover photo, or even share cool content featuring elements that belong in the season — whether it’s your own content or someone else’s.

This is also a great opportunity to pass around entertaining articles about the holidays and useful tips and how-to guides for folks who plan to make the most out of the season. Perhaps not surprisingly,the most successful social media campaigns tend to revolve around sharing things.

Interesting, isn’t it?

'Tis the season for shoppers to be spending — why not help them decide to choose you?

Use your social media accounts to share gift idea lists that feature your strongest and bestselling products.

This is also quite helpful to folks who are rushing to give gifts to their loved ones, but have absolutely no idea as to where they should begin.

Step in and offer a helping hand, and you might just end up helping yourself, too!

 


It’s a tried and tested strategy, and it’s perfect for the season of giving, too. Reward your followers and show them that you care for them by holding contests — ideally, ones that could get them to share your page and convince more people to engage and communicate with you — and offering really great prizes.

A new gadget, a gift card, a really good book, and some stylish shoes are just some of the many examples of prizes you can offer up for grabs. It all depends on your brand and your typical target audience — what do you think would they like most, and what could give them enough incentive to join your contest?

 

This is a great way to nurture your leads while staying perfectly in line with the traditions that come with the season.

Send a heartfelt email to your clients wishing them Happy Holidays — heck, in some cases, even a simple Facebook PM or Twitter DM would do.

The important thing is to show them that you genuinely care about them and that they are still in your thoughts, even during the holiday season.

Partnering up with a charitable institution won’t just earn you brownie points with your audience, it’ll also make you feel good about helping other people.

 

 

Why not make a tie-in campaign with a local orphanage, an institution for the aged, or a foundation in need of serious funding to continue researching a cure for a deadly disease?

Furthermore, people will see your brand as a genuine, sincere, and well-meaning outfit worthy of their support and patronage.

Campaigns centered on children do well because such campaigns tend to be inherently fun.

Such campaigns combine the power of the internet with a child’s ability to put his imagination to great use. Thus, as long as it’s appropriate for your target market, having a campaign with children around isn’t such a bad idea, after all.

On the flipside, you can tap into the inner child of your older consumers/target market by appealing to their emotions through nostalgia and giving them the chance to remember the holidays of their youth. Believe me, when it comes to getting people to spend money, nostalgia is a powerful tool!

 

These are just a handful of the many unique approaches you can take towards developing a solid holiday social media marketing campaign and strategy. Oh, and if you’re in need of guidance as to how you should go about it, I’ve prepared an infographic that talks about the 12 steps of creating a winning social media campaign. (If you feel like singing the list to the tune of “12 Days of Christmas,” that works, too!)

With these examples, you are now all set to start building your own social media campaign for the holiday season.

Learn from the Best (and Worst) Social Media Campaigns Ever

As we all know, setting up an effective social media campaign takes a lot of work and planning.

A brand that wants to use this social media marketing strategy to give itself a much-needed boost needs to be prepared to invest time and resources into getting it right. This typically involves hiring a team of experts, figuring out the requirements and timelines of the campaign, scoping out the competition, and many other steps along the way. (By the way, here’s an infographic that shows the anatomy of a successful campaign — check it out!)

Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), not all social media campaigns are created equal; some may turn out to be significantly more effective (or even horrifically more detrimental to the brand’s reputation) than the other. In this blog post, I decided to take a look at both the good and the bad, and to point out what we ought to learn from these social media experiences (and misadventures).

The Best

The Old Spice Guy Q & A.

Forbes calls it one of the most effective social media marketing campaigns from 2010, and with good reason. It was a true turning point for digital marketing, as it was the first significantly successful instance where a brand’s television marketing campaign jived excellently with its social media efforts.

Old Spice created this synergy when they selected former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa to become the new “face” of their company — the Old Spice Guy, who was meant to embody the ideal man.

With just the right amount of weirdness, humor, and meme-worthy lines in their TV commercials for this generation to appreciate, the brand took it (and the Old Spice Guy) a step further by encouraging their social media followers to come up with questions for the then-newly unveiled superstar.

Needless to say, it was a smash hit.

Key Takeaways:

With the right campaign, even a brand’s longstanding image can be completely transformed. Also, know your audience well, and don’t be afraid to go digital.

The Colorful Oreo “Daily Twist” Campaign"


Who would have thought that Oreos would look so good in so many colors? For the brand’s 100th birthday, Oreo opted to showcase a new design for their cookies every day for the next 100 days. The very first one was a rainbow cookie — a colorful, 7-layer treat that was designed to express the brand’s support for gay pride.

Because of their visually exciting designs (which commemorated, among other things, Shark Week, the panda Shin-Shin’s new baby, and even Batman), the brand gained over 231 million impressions, experienced a 195% boost in Facebook engagement and was shared nearly three times as much at it normally is. 

Key Takeaways:

Doing things differently and for a good cause will definitely get your brand noticed. However, it also becomes necessary to learn how to create truly compelling content that can stand on its own if the need ever arises.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


Remember this campaign from 2014? Chances are, you may have even participated in it! Intended to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), it was covered even by traditional media outlets, generating enough buzz to make it massively popular and raise over $ 100 million in funds for ALS research.

 

Key Takeaways:

Create a campaign for a good cause, and you’ll give them a good reason to participate. Create an interesting, engaging campaign, and you’ll give them the incentive to participate. Aim to combine both.

Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” Series"

blendtec-logo-2013I’m not even THAT into smoothies and shakes, but somehow Blendtec managed to catch my attention — as well as a whole lot of other folks’, if the over 700 % increase in home sales of their blenders were any indication.

The “Will It Blend?” videos are pretty simple and straightforward: Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson is simply shown blending all sorts of things, from glow sticks to metal sheets and even iPhones (gasp!).

Not only do the videos demonstrate just how powerful Blendtec’s blenders are, they also capitalize on the power of social media and keep viewers hooked. Because really, who WOULDN’T want to know if a Ford Fiesta would blend? 

Key Takeaways:

Inspiration can come from the strangest places. (Oh, and keep your hands out of the blender. please.)

The Worst

British Gas’s Q & A Faux Pas

british.gas_.image_.2015-300x150Here’s a case of bad timing that snowballed into a social media disaster. When British Gas held a Twitter Q&A session in 2013, they failed to take into account that they’d launched their campaign on the same day they decided to up their energy prices by about 10%.

Naturally, angry consumers saw the Twitter event, decided that it would be the perfect vehicle for some sweet payback, and practically smothered customer service with inappropriate questions, declarations of anger and outrage, and even a few well-honed sarcastic jabs. 

Key Takeaways:

Not all campaigns and circumstances merit being tackled in a certain way on social media — especially if you somehow managed to anger a sizable number of users.

Epicurious’s ill-advised Boston Marathon bombing tweets

Epicurious_Logo_2014

When the Boston Marathon bombing happened, cooking site Epicurious saw an opportunity to express their condolences while still finding some way to make money out of it.

The brand took to Twitter and posted what were meant to be uplifting messages. Unfortunately, the tweets came off as a tad opportunistic and insensitive — totally not what the brand wanted to convey. 

Key Takeaways:

If you’re thinking of using a tragic event as leverage for your social media campaign or promotions… don’t. Just don’t.

Malaysia Air’s “Bucket List.”

Logo_Penerbangan_MalaysiaIf you’re in the airline business and you just suffered two major crashes, reminding people of their mortality might not be in your best interests, in as far as marketing is concerned.

Still, no one seemed to catch this little matter over at Malaysia Air, where they launched their “Bucket List” (as in, things you want to accomplish before you die, right?) campaign on social media.

Instead of receiving tweets containing posts and images of what users considered were their “ultimate bucket list” items, the brand instead received a jumbo jet’s worth of complaints, until they had no other choice but to take their parachutes and leap out of the burning mess that was their campaign.

Key Takeaways:

If your problems lie in your services, you won’t find the solutions in your marketing.

 

Now that we’ve gone through examples of social media campaign successes and failures, why don’t you start building your own social media campaign?

How To Get Your Social Media Campaign Buzzing in 30 Days

Bringing your business to social media is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction.

If you’ve been following this blog (and I really, really hope you have!), you should already understand the true power of social media as a visual marketing tool, as a platform for building thought leadership, and so on. Social media is like the Swiss Army knife of marketing — it can actually surprise you with how much it can do, and I think we’ve barely even scratched the surface!

However, while social media has a myriad of uses and features that can help you build your brand, it won’t be able to accomplish this on its own. There’s a significant amount of work that goes into creating and preparing your social media accounts - from filling in the required fields to optimizing the text to improve searchability, everything matters. Naturally, managing your social media profiles also involves quite a bit of planning, strategizing, and executing.

One of the most effective social media management strategies is to hold campaigns to promote your brand.  The purpose of this is twofold — to inspire loyalty in your followers by means of presenting an incentive for engagement, and to boost the reach and follower count of your page. For an example of some social media campaigns this year that really worked, check out this infographic I prepared:

Ideally, a social media campaign should last no more than 30 days. While you may think that’s a bit too short, it’s actually more than enough time for you to get your marketing machine up and generating leads. Some brands may have a portion of their budget allocated towards traditional forms of marketing, but it pays to remember that sufficient buzz and consistent monitoring are the key to a successful social media campaign — two things that you can do even without spending so much.

Out of those two things, let’s focus on the former for a bit. I’ve prepared a list of effective tactics in generating buzz for your campaigns on social media — take a look below and see which ones you are already doing, and which ones you can do.

Stay updated on the latest trends

It pays to be updated and to know what today’s generation is paying a lot of attention to.

After all, by being familiar with current trends and issues, you can take those concepts and mix them with your own, and even capitalize on their wave of popularity to boost your offerings. Who knows, your campaign just might become the next viral sensation!

Create and share quality content

Let’s face it — the best way to connect with your audience (and to give them a reason to keep coming back to you) is to provide high-quality and really useful content that is uniquely yours.

It’s not just about creating and sharing your own content 100% of the time, though; in fact, you should be sharing more content from other folks (given it’s related to your field of expertise, of course).

Establish a community of followers and like-minded individuals

By putting more time and energy into building relationships, you’ll be able to groom an entire community full of people who support you and are willing to remain as active members of your group.

Never underestimate “people power” when it comes to marketing! Let the online voices of your multitude of supporters drown out any negative comments or jeering that get thrown your way.

Do it, and do it now — promptness is key

Many social media campaigns — as a matter of fact, many marketing endeavours in general — become messy failures simply because somewhere along the line, the drive to consistently monitor the campaign gets lost, and it ends up running on its own until it completely fails to reach your objectives.

You can use just about anything as an excuse to put off working on your campaigns, but the fact of the matter is as long as you’re not doing anything or implementing any new ideas, you’re never going to reach your goals.

Tell your own story

It doesn’t matter whether you think you’re selling something plain, uninteresting or boring (and if you do think that, then maybe you’re in the wrong industry — though that’s a discussion for another day); your brand surely has a story, a relatable, emotional hook that will set you apart from everyone else.

Establish ties with the right people

Get to know the influencers and thought leaders in your field.  Engage with them on social media, write guest blogs for them, tag them in tweets — build a friendship with them, one that you could mutually benefit from in the long run.

You should also build a network of bloggers for you to contact if you have any big events or campaigns that you would like to get some media coverage about.

Talk about yourself

Don’t be shy — after all, no one else is going to do the talking for you, just you. It’s your responsibility to create buzz by building a solid reputation for your brand (and letting people know what they’re missing out on if they don’t pay attention to you or your campaign).

There are many events and places where you can go to start meeting people and establishing connections. Don’t be afraid to let them know more about you, as it’s a prerequisite to building trust, in any setting.

 

Ultimately, you are but one of a thousand or more businesses all flocking to social media in the hopes of getting noticed by the right people and eventually become something more. Still, it all depends on how willing you are to put work into it — to engage with your fans, to stay up-to-date and informed, and to prioritize building up whatever it is that you do differently and that you can eventually become known for.

How To Build a Social Media Following Like Taylor Swift

Whether you’re a fan of her music or not, one thing is certain: As far as social media is concerned, Taylor Swift is unstoppable, and few come close to her level as a social media marketing and PR juggernaut.

Fans all over the world have fallen head over heels with her simple charm, and if the numbers are any indication — 64.8 million followers on Twitter, 51 million followers on Instagram (trumping even one-time Instagram queen Kim Kardashian), and almost 72.9 million fans on Facebook — she definitely has everyone’s attention online, too.

Consider this: a casual look at Taylor Swift’s online accounts reveals that she rarely, if ever, uses social media as a marketing tool. In fact listen to her speak about her social media activites in this video, foward to mark 3 mins 9 seconds to truly understand how Taylor uses social media to connect with her fans.

As a matter of fact, if you were to discount the fact that she’s, well, Taylor Swift (and handily ignore her follower count), you’ll find that she uses social media just like any typical 20-something girl. She posts selfies, her #OOTDs, photos with friends, and even her quiet moments of cuddling with her pets.

Even more impressive is the fact that she has absolutely no background or formal training in digital marketing.

This means one thing: Taylor Swift has definitely unlocked the secret to social media marketing that so many brands are struggling to discover!

Here are some of the important lessons that any social media marketer can learn from Taylor Swift’s approach to social media management. Want to find out how this young woman not only sang her way to people’s hearts, but also Tweeted and selfie’d her way to social media stardom? Read on:

 

1. She is the foremost expert on all things Taylor Swift.

Sure, this first point may sound funny to you. After all, isn’t it obvious that the person herself should know what works best for her brand?

Well, if you think about it, Taylor Swift is very careful about what she advertises and the brands she supports, aligning herself only with the brands that work well with her image (such as Keds, for example — a mix of young, simple, and classic, all embodied in footwear).

As I said earlier, she doesn’t use social media as a marketing machine; her social media accounts, her rules.

 

2. She is very protective of her brand

An interesting story: earlier this year, Taylor Swift bought a couple of adult-rated domain names with her name on them, just so no one else could use them.

She’s smart enough to know what to do to keep her sweet, innocent, and relatable image perfectly preserved — it’s this kind of protectiveness and foresight that brands could certainly benefit from, especially with regard to the kind of content they publish on their own pages or the things that may become associate with their brand identity.

 

3. She knows how to drum up interest.

While I did say that she doesn’t use her social media accounts as marketing vehicles, she certainly knows how to get attention for her new album releases or campaigns. Posting teases and themed content on her accounts has proven to be effective in getting her fans excited for her latest projects.

In fact, she’s so good at it that she even gets her fans to do her marketing for her (in subtle and rewarding ways), such as when she launched her album “1989.”

 

4. She knows how to play to the unique strengths of each social media platform

You’ll notice that Taylor Swift engages with her fans differently, depending on which social media platform she’s on. Facebook has become her go-to “promotions” page, where she mostly posts updates about her projects and shares content from other websites (articles, blog posts, etc.) about her.

On the other hand, she uses Twitter to establish a more human and intimate connection with her audience, and harnesses the power of Instagram to build her image and show the world who she really is, figuratively and literally. Taylor Swift also tags her fans and acknowledges them — the mark of a true social media expert who knows the importance of showing your fans that you care.

 

5. She knows how to use viral content to her advantage

If you recall, I once mentioned that reposting viral content, while a viable social media strategy, is something I wouldn’t recommend that you rely on. Taylor Swift, however, is an example of a person who knows exactly how to take viral content and put her own spin on it.

One example is the “No It’s Becky” social media debacle, wherein a Tumblr user posted a photo of the pop star claiming that she was her friend “Becky.” Tumblr users immediately called her out on it, saying that the photo was that of the pop star, who responded by posting a Polaroid-style photo of herself wearing a shirt that said, “No it’s Becky.”

Another instance was when she acknowledged the dress puzzle (yes, THAT dress puzzle) with a creatively phrased tweet that made it sound like she was merely giving an observation (plus her own guess on the real colors of the dress). Taylor Swift doesn’t just repost or reshare viral content — she finds a way to put her stamp on it.

 

6. She keeps it real (and knows how to laugh at herself)

The elements of her online personality that drive her social media success are the very same ones that made her the pop sensation and media darling that she is: her emphasis on keeping it simple and real, her relatability, and her capacity to make fun of herself.

It’s these attitudes that make her practically irresistible to her audiences: When it comes to Taylor Swift, what you see is what you get, pretty much. She posts pictures that aren’t edited to perfection, asks her fans for help whenever she needs it, and even uploads pictures of her occasional fashion faux pas.

 

7. She engages with her fans actively.

The pop star still manages to find time to retweet her followers, comment on their Instagram photos, and even repost their content. Taylor Swift knows that Swifties exist, and she definitely goes the extra mile to show them that she cares about them.

 

8. She’s friends with the right folks

Fellow musicians Ed Sheeran and Selena Gomez are among the many A-listers who are part of Taylor Swift’s well-known “squad” — her friends onstage and offstage, comprising a sizable group with whom she spends quality time when she’s not busy performing or touring.

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, particularly on social media: Taylor Swift actively tags and engages with her pals, regardless of whether or not they’re technically her rivals in the industry. This is why her famous friends also aren’t shy about showing their support for the pop star, providing testimonials about her music and even getting their followers to buy her new albums.

Taylor Swift’s social media strategy is a good case study for brands and marketers to learn from. If anything, this proves that you don’t really need an extensive background in marketing or a high level of expertise or familiarity with social media marketing platforms to succeed at digital marketing (though those two certainly help) — sometimes, simply knowing your audience well and staying true to your own brand will make you a social media smash hit.

 

Here are some other examples of celebrities who absolutely win at social media.

25 Quickest and Easiest Ways To Start a Conversation on Social Media

There’s a lot of pressure on social media marketing professionals to spark conversations online for the brands they handle.

After all, social media engagement is the key to boosting your brand’s reputation and presence online, as well as in strengthening your bond with your community.

If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss as to how you can instigate conversations on social media, don’t worry — I’ve prepared not one, not two, but 25 (yup, count ‘em, 25) ways for you to take that first step towards two-way social media communication. Check them out below:

 

25 Quickest and Easiest Ways To Start a Conversation on Social Media

It’s reasonable to conclude that, since your fans are most likely the kind of people who are interested in the industry you’re a part of, any posts that would be helpful or relevant to them would spark discussion.

2. Ask random questions

Keep your audience on their toes with unexpected (but interesting!) questions. It helps, of course, if these questions were crafted to establish a point relevant to your industry or brand further into the conversation.

3. Discuss your hobbies or personal interests

Part of the point of engagement is to remind your followers that, just like them, you’re human, too — Human, and therefore, relatable. What better way is there to say “I feel you, bro/sis” than to show them that you’re into the same things they are (and are interested to hear about their hobbies, too)?

4. Provide assistance in whatever way you can

Ask questions for your fans and followers regarding their specific problems — not only will you get a boost in the number of people who respond to you, but you’ll also be able to help someone else solve their problem (and give them a reason to keep coming back to your page).

5. Post content regularly

Spark discussion by posting content based on your editorial calendar. This helps renew your followers’ interest in your brand while subsequently telling them “hey, I’m still alive!”

6. Participate actively in conversations

Don’t be afraid to join in, especially if you have something meaningful or relevant to contribute. Technically, it wasn’t waht started that conversation; however, play your cards right and it could very well be the leadup to the next one. And the one after that.

7. Participate strategically

Stay abreast of current events, especially the ones relevant to your brand or to your audience — and when you get the chance, try to integrate yourself into the discussion. Don’t force it, though! Newsjacking, especially when the news is just trending and not at all relevant to your brand, is frowned upon in general.

8. Be informative

Instruction guides that detail processes step-by-step (especially DIY series) are a big hit with netizens, and with good reason — in this day and age, there’s a prevalent notion that we all have the right materials and instruments at our disposal to do practically anything. This is your chance to show that you’re an expert worth listening to.

9. Suggest practical uses for your products

Good examples are recipes (if you’re in the food business) or craft projects (if you sell, say, art materials or pens). Provide value to your customers by adding value to your products.

10. Provide entertainment

The occasional funny meme or cat GIF won’t hurt you — try as much as possible to keep your content relevant to your brand, though!

11. Ask for consumer input

Think of simple and easy things that you’d like your audience to do with your products or services — it’s a way of keeping them engaged and getting more free marketing for your offerings.

No one was ever really hurt by tagging or mentioning fellow thought leaders on social media, after all. Besides, you might learn a thing or two from them — or even better, build a strong connection with them.

13. Add social media buttons on your website and blog

It may sound simple and obvious, but it still bears mentioning. Adding these buttons where people can see and click them is a great way to get them engaged immediately after they see your content

14. Read other blogs as well (and leave your comments there)

Share your thoughts on the topic and, if it’s worth crediting, give the blog the credit it rightly deserves. The action of interacting fans, followers or even influencers in their own domain can help build the relationship and increase the interaction between each other on your social platforms.

15. Share engagement from other people

If you notice a unique comment that really catches your attention (either on your blog or on your social media pages), take a screencap of it and share it with your audience. See if they agree with it and learn what they think about specific topics (and hey, it’s user-generated content, essentially, so that’s a plus, too).

16. Share a personal experience

Again, as long as it’s realistic, relevant and relatable, it’ll work for your brand.

17. Cite industry statistics

Appeal to the folks in your industry who are deeply invested in the field by sharing interesting or important facts and figures. This serves two purposes: to keep them informed and to position yourself as an up-to-date thought leader.

18. Share an image quote

An image quote is shareable AND relatable content, which will get your audience to not just post a comment about it, but also find other people to empathize with them by sharing it on their own feeds.

19. Give them the “inside scoop.”

Your fans are definitely going to love any information you can share about the industry , whether it’s little-known facts or effective and secret “life hacks.”

20. Run a quiz or a poll

People love expressing opinions, so give them a venue and a reason to do so ! It doesn’t even have to be a super-serious quiz or poll — something lighthearted such as asking about their favorite band or least favorite color is fine (as long as it relates to your brand in some way).

Don’t forget that the point of having a conversation is to ensure that both parties are responding. If you don’t respond immediately, there’s a good chance that your audience will lose interest in talking to you. Respond as if you were in a real conversation: quickly, carefully, and sincerely.

22. Include images in your posts

Did you know that engagement on social media is significantly higher when there’s a picture or any piece of visual content attached to a specific post? When people see images or videos on your feed, they’re more likely to share their own thoughts via comments — and that’s where the conversation starts.

23. Share more about your favourite brands and services

Don’t be afraid to talk about where you shopped this afternoon or to let your followers see what you got this week. It helps strengthen the “human” image of your brand, plus it gives your favorite establishments some free publicity, too!

24. Share an interesting infographic

Infographics — such as this one I made, which contains a glossary of social media terms you definitely need to understand and learn — are great for both you and your audience. A good infographic keeps your audience informed and interested, and it keeps you visible as it gets shared and commented on.

25. Be a source of news

This gives your audience a reason to keep checking your page. Pro tip: Deal with the news that’s relevant to your audience.

Now that you know how to start conversations instantly, the next step is to know how to keep the momentum (and even give it a boost).

How To Take The Headache Out Of Starting Conversations On Social Media

How-To-Take-The-Headache-Out-Of-Starting-Conversations-On-Social-Media

By now, we’ve already established that social media as a whole is quite possibly the most powerful (and cheapest!) marketing tool you have at your disposal.

In fact, being on social media actually allows you to transcend the very simple and mechanical process of advertising your goods and services and getting your clients to buy from you instead of your competitors.

With social media, you’re actually forging a relationship with your followers : a much deeper connection founded on trust, respect, loyalty, and shared objectives and expectations.

Your followers will look at your brand and see that it’s far more than just a faceless, lifeless institution built with the intent of taking people’s hard-earned money; they’ll actually see that at the very heart of your brand is you, a human being who understands exactly what they need and can relate to your everyday problems as well.

Oddly enough, many seem to get lost in the shuffle, thanks in no small part to the convenience offered by the numerous social media tools that marketers use to curate content, schedule posts, and basically make implementing their social media strategy a lot easier.

In the mad rush to write tons of content and prepare visuals to stun and wow their audience, these people forget that social relationships are built on meaningful exchanges.

You’d be surprised at how important engagement is in terms of keeping your brand profitable (you can take a look at this infographic to learn more interesting facts about engagement across social media platforms).

Simply put, they forget that they’re supposed to be Iron Man… and end up being the Terminator instead.

My point is this: your work in engaging with your audience does not begin and end with you setting up your page and posting your content. After all, there’s no reason for people to have conversations with you if you’re the type who doesn’t seem to communicate in the first place.

Sure, you may occasionally (and I seriously mean “not all the time”) strike gold with an article, infographic, or even just a status message or tweet that sparks conversation and eventually goes viral. However, if you don’t answer back, there is no exchange of ideas, and therefore no real bond created.

It is in creating a real bond with your fans that your brand can inspire loyalty and a solid following, which in turn would lead to more conversions and increased profitability at the end of it all. And of course,to create that bond, you need to put some work into the process.

 

It’s normal to get complaints about your brand, services or products; it’s part and parcel of running a business. The added challenge here is that everyone will see what your dissatisfied customer has to say about you. As the old adage goes, you can’t please everyone.

However, what you CAN do is to make sure you don’t make them even more pissed off at you. The moment you get public complaints, address them immediately and discreetly — send the person a private message, do your best to deal with the issue offline, and present a personalized solution (or even better, a token or added benefit for the consumer to establish a resolution to the problem).

 

Spoiler alert: Social media conversations, much like conversations in real life, require an exchange of ideas.

Now, I’m not saying that you should write a long composition as a response to every single comment that your followers post on your profile; however, it wouldn’t hurt to say “thank you” to them every once in a while, or to give them a nice shout-out to let them know that you’re aware they exist and, more importantly, that you care.

 

3. It’s all in the names you use

Our names shape our identities and give us the social right to believe that we’re all special in our own ways and that everyone can aspire to be something more than what they already are.

Having a name makes us human, in short. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you have your social media management team sign off with their first names after every update.

It works the other way around, too: Address fans who give their feedback to you using their first names, and they’ll go crazy over it. Remember to tag usernames on Twitter — that’s another great way to personalize your conversation.

 

This is where social media monitoring really shines. It’s your manager’s duty to keep a close eye on your social media feeds and see if people are talking about products or services that belong in your industry.

Then, when an opportunity presents itself for you to join the conversation naturally — perhaps give advice, suggestions or recommendations, answer a question, or provide clarity on an issue you’re a known expert on — things just happen from there.

 

5. Ask questions (and make them want to offer answers).

Additionally, it also takes you showing (in concrete ways) that you actually want to know the answers to your own problems by asking your fans for meaningful input. The objective here is to get them to communicate for you to establish that they can count on you.

Why not ask fans for feedback on previously released products and campaigns, for example? This helps you build a stronger relationship with your consumer, which allows your bond to flourish and your mutual trust to grow stronger.

I’m sure you’ve heard about brand storytelling already — how it defines who your brand is and why it’s worth following. Well, all the stories in the world would not do a lick of good to your brand if you don’t show your consumers that there are people behind that brand who are working hard to deliver the product they want, need, or deserve.

Don’t forget that your one-on-one engagement with your target market is something that you ought to pay more attention to. Learn the value of communicating clearly and consistently.

How To Turn Social Media Into Lead-Generating Machines, Part 3: Visual Marketing

Get Visual: Social Media Best Practices for Visual Marketing

In the last two blog posts, we talked about how social media can be used effectively for generating leads for B2C and B2B businesses.

Now, let’s ignore the distinction between the two for a while and focus on one aspect of your social media strategy that certainly applies to both types of businesses: your approach to visual marketing.

I’ve talked a bit about visual marketing in the past — why it matters, how it should be done, and the tools you can use to improve its efficacy in your overall social media strategy. However, I think it’s also important to stress that there are differences in the way visual marketing is and should be done across different social media platforms.

Another thing: Even the simple act of updating your profile picture on Facebook or Twitter actually involves a lot more than simply picking a square-shaped drawing of your favorite cartoon character, or a picture that you think makes you seem less fat/oily/haggard-looking than all of the other ones you took of yourself. (Don’t worry — we all go through this, trust me.)

Keeping your visual content on social media is a vital part of your strategy that you should not simply cast aside because of the following reasons: -

  • we’re naturally more inclined to better absorb information when presented in visuals,
  • a well-optimized image could mean the difference between captivating your audience and helping them decide to move along to the next business and just ignore you.
  • the visual content we post on social media reflects our mindset and preferences , thus affecting how your followers and the rest of the community look at you.

I’ve prepared a list of guidelines for posting images on social media below — this includes image size specifications for a handful of popular social media sites, as well as special best practices for Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

By the way, speaking of those three platforms, I’ve prepared an infographic of fun facts about them. You can check it out now, or after you’re done reading the rest of this article.

General Social Media Image Guidelines

For Facebook

Did you know that Facebook posts with images generate approximately 120% more engagement than just plain text updates? That’s why you should put more thought into the kinds of images you post, especially if you’re planning to establish thought leadership and a stronger presence.

Size specifications for Facebook images:

  • Profile Images: 180 x 180 (scaled to display as 160 x 160)
  • Cover Images: 851 x 315
  • Post Images – Desktop: 1200 x 1200 (scaled to display as 403 x 403)
  • Post Images – Mobile: 1200 x 1200 (scaled to display as 560 x 560)
  • Post Images (Link) – Desktop: 1200 x 627 (scaled to display as 403 x 210)
  • Post Images (Link) – Mobile: 1200 x 627 (scaled to display as 560 x 292)

For Twitter

Visual content on Twitter results in 150% more retweets, 89% more favourites, and 18% more clicks than text-only content; that’s why you should always add photos in your tweets.

Size specifications for Twitter images:

  • Profile Images: 400 x 400
  • Cover Images: 1500 x 500
  • In-Stream Images: 220 x 440
  • Background Images: 2MB Max. (top left justified)

For Google+

With photos, you can drive more of your readers to share your Google+ account and post on your behalf to improve your CTR. You might want to consider getting better profile and cover images that align with your brand identity.

Size specifications for Google+ images:

  • Profile Images: 250 x 250 (displayed as a circle)
  • Cover Images: 1080 x 608
  • Post Images: 620 x 620

For LinkedIn

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn has proven to be one of the best platforms for lead generation for businesses. Much like the rest, posting images on LinkedIn entails following a set of standards.

Size specifications for LinkedIn images:

  • Profile Pic: (Company Logo) 100 x 60 px; (Personal Profile) 200 x 200 px
  • Cover Photo: 646 x 220 px
  • Link Post: 180 x 110 px (scaled to display as such, regardless of original size)
  • Background Photo: (Premium Feature) 1400 x 425 px

Best Practices for Instagram

Take photos of the people you work with.

Create memories of team activities by taking staff photos and uploading the results on social media to help build confidence in your brand and camaraderie in the team.

Display your products and services.

Use Instagram to display the process of creating and packaging your product. I’m sure your audience is interested to know more about the work that goes into the whole procedure.

Return the favour and follow your Followers.

This can help you get to know them better by observing how they behave on the platform and the kinds of things they post.

Best Practices for Pinterest

Create a blog board.

This will make it easier for your followers to read your blog posts.

Pin wisely.

Focus on pinning relevant and interesting content at a steady pace to keep the momentum. Also, feel free to repin, share, like or comment on anything that is significant to your brand on Pinterest. Engagement still matters, even on a platform that is quite image-heavy.

Also, feel free to repin, share, like or comment on anything that is significant to your brand on Pinterest. Engagement still matters, even on a platform that is quite image-heavy.

Return the favour and follow your Followers.

This can help you get to know them better by observing how they behave on the platform and the kinds of things they post.

Best Practices for YouTube

Make more than one video.

Try making 8, seriously -- that’s what YouTube recommends. 😉

Invite your audience to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Lead them towards converting by giving them more visual demonstrations to help them further understand the work that needs to be done.

Promote your videos on the other social media sites where your target consumers are.

Use different social media platforms to share your shots with the rest of the world.

Carefully study the stats.

Take time to get to know your viewership better - this will help you in preparing future content that is even more relevant to your audience and, ultimately, to what the brand seeks to achieve.

I hope you can apply these social media image posting best practices soon! With the right guidance and a solid social media action plan, your brand will have no trouble at all in attracting customers, increasing conversions, and making itself known to a global audience.

How To Turn Social Media Into Lead-Generating Machines, Part 2: B2B Businesses

A decade ago, the idea of social media eventually becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools for any brand was a farfetched one, at best.

A decade ago, the idea of social media eventually becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools for any brand was a farfetched one, at best. I don’t think anyone at the time had any idea that LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, or any of the subsequent social media platforms would become advertising juggernauts.

It’s a combination of a number of factors. A lot of people are saying that social media is an effective marketing tool because everyone’s on social media. While there is some truth to that (in a general sense), I think it’s much more complicated than that.

You see, not everyone is on the same social media platforms. Let’s take LinkedIn, for example. The social networking platform, which was founded over a decade ago, counts industry professionals, Human Resources folks and businessmen among the majority of its over 380 million users. (For more interesting facts and statistics on LinkedIn, as well as its very useful offshoot SlideShare, check out this infographic I put together.)

It comes as no surprise, then, that marketers for B2B businesses do allocate some time and effort on using LinkedIn to build their professional network of contacts and connect with industry leaders and potential customers who are on the social media site. This is despite the fact that lead generation and ROI are still a bit tricky to gauge on social media.

Nevertheless, failing to gear your social media marketing strategy towards maximizing the potential of LinkedIn (and even other platforms that are suitable for B2B businesses, such as Google+ and Twitter) is an opportunity wasted. Similar to my earlier blog post on social media marketing best practices for B2C businesses, I’ve come up with a list of tips on how you can optimize your social media accounts — which, in the case of B2B businesses, is most likely LinkedIn — to attract more leads that would hopefully lead to more conversions for your business.

(The interesting thing here is that, if you think about it, there really isn’t much of a difference between how you should strategize social media marketing for B2B and how you do so for B2C. It’s more in the kind of tactics and the level of interaction required for B2B marketing: deeper, and with a bit more focus on engagement. This is because, as Christina Kerley points out in her blog, business audiences are actually more engaged on social media, by virtue of their very livelihoods.)

Don’t be afraid to mix it up when it comes to your content. 

Employ all forms of useful, informative, and engaging content — from case studies and whitepapers, to infographics and blogs, and even videos and livestreams — to attract your audience to the parts of your website that are relevant for lead generation (contact forms, email opt-in lists, and so on).

Your content should be optimized with the right keywords, and your calls to action must be strong and clear.

Use all of your social media channels to distribute your content. 

Share your content through your blogs, your social media accounts, your video channels, and even email marketing.

Utilize Q&A forums to develop thought leadership. 

Thought leadership is a key area for B2B marketers to focus on, given the nature and typical characteristics of their target audience. Online Q&A platforms such as LinkedIn or Quora present the opportunity to reach out to your target market and provide meaningful answers to questions about your industry, which can help you establish a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable source of information (and thus, someone your audience can count on to deliver effective solutions to business problems).

Become part of the community.

Don’t forget to put the “social” in social media — make connections with your professional contacts or with people within the same field or with the same interests. It’s not enough to just join relevant groups left and right, though; do your best to provide value by being a helpful member of the online community whenever you can.

Keep your LinkedIn status up to date.

Ask interesting questions about your industry or post relevant updates. These are displayed on your profile and sent to your contacts through email, which keeps your visibility up and creates avenues for you to communicate with your audience.

Organizing a webinar event? Promote it on social media.

Obviously, this raises awareness about your webinar (or any other event) and drums up interest. This way, people who might be interested in what you have to say about a particular topic will be encouraged to sign up. Don’t forget to link to your registration page, of course!

Try to connect with your customers’ contacts on LinkedIn, too.

One of the ways to do this is to ask for a personal introduction to one of their own contacts — however, this is only likely to work if you’ve been successfully providing reliable, high quality service to your contact or addressing one of their important needs. Remember that successful B2B marketing greatly hinges on the size and quality of your own network.

Be more attentive and responsive.

Choose keywords that are relevant to your brand and monitor them carefully, paying close attention to any important conversations and taking note of related keywords and trends you can utilize.

You can then participate in them via a carefully crafted message that offers useful content (perhaps an eBook or a case study) to get your audience to sign up.

All in all, B2B social media marketing is all about making the right connections with the right folks, getting them to consume your content and engage with you, and making them realize the unique value and services that only you can provide.

Looking past the specifics of your target audience, the lesson remains the same, whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn — social media platforms are indispensable tools in marketing, and can take your business to new heights with the right guidance and a solid strategy.